Tag Archives: Sally Reid

REVIEW: Cinderfella – Tron Theatre, Glasgow

There has thankfully been a seismic shift in the Pantosphere in recent years to reflect the society we actually live in, and at the forefront has been the Tron Theatre, and more specifically those works from the pen of the wonder boy of panto fabulousness, Johnny McKnight. That said, this is the festive show I’ve attended since childhood and from the days of Peter Capaldi, Forbes Masson, Alan Cumming and Craig Ferguson, it has never felt the need to conform to Christmas norms or patronise its audience. It has a special place in my heart and year on year it never fails to entertain on every level and for every age.

The smashing of gender stereotypes features large in this year’s offering Cinderfella, and boy do they do it with tons of style and even more humour. Poor, orphaned Cinderella is fighting to keep her late parent’s vintage store afloat, her only hope is to meet fashion entrepreneur Princess Charmaine and persuade her to invest in the failing family business. However, the only way a poor pleb like Cinderella can get near the Princess is to get an invite to her annual ball. However, this year the guest-list is a male-only affair – so what’s a girl to do?…

The music is chart-toppingly catchy and composer Ross Brown has obviously caught West End smash Six, another celebration of female strength, there’s also a nod to You’ve Got a Friend in Me in Muttons big solo number.

The all-female cast is absolutely dynamite. Sally Reid, all wide-eyed innocence and guilelessness is the titular hero and her comic timing is masterful. Lauren Ellis-Steele doubles up as “Scotland’s answer to Beyoncé” (more an Adele look-and-sound-alike) and also the Wicked Stepmother – it’s a perfectly pitched performance and Ellis-Steele has a fine set of pipes, and as with all McKnight festive offerings, she gets to go full-on Mariah in All I Want For Christmas, the song that traditionally brings the shows to an end. Jo Freer as Cinderella’s loyal sheep side-kick Muttons is a scene stealer as are Hannah Jarrett-Scott and Daisy Ann Fletcher as Cinders’ hapless and hopeless step-brothers Harry and Larry in eye-popping male-drag. 

This ‘estrogen epidemic’ is so well conceived and so well delivered, you can’t fail to be thoroughly entertained and its message of female self-reliance will make your heart soar. I can’t praise it highly enough – a fantastic, five star, festive feast.

Image: John Johnstone

REVIEW: Aganeza Scrooge – Tron Theatre, Glasgow

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This review was originally written for and published by The Public Reviews

Writer and Director: Johnny McKnight

The Public Reviews Rating: ★★★★★

There’s much speculation every year at the Tron Theatre as to whether this year’s production will top the last. The annual panto is never your traditional fare: refreshingly celebrity-free with no lazy pop tunes or reliance on worn out slapstick, instead it delivers ground-breaking originality and innovation year on year.

And the pressure to deliver is great, writer-director Johnny McKnight has big shoes to fill in this Glasgow theatre, following as he does in the footsteps of writers such as: Peter Capaldi, Craig Ferguson and Forbes Masson and in Aganeza Scrooge, boy does he deliver, with non-stop laughs and a finger firmly on the pulse of his audience.

In a storyline that might just sound familiar: Christmas is in full swing, everywhere that is, except Dickensian Street, home to legendary miser and money-lender Aganeza Scrooge, “the scariest skinflint in the pantosphere”. Aganeza is, of course, visited by three legendary ghosts, those of Pantos past, present and future, in order to show her the error of her ways. This all-female take on Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol stays loyal to the oft-told tale but with razor sharp wit, perfect pace, a genius eye for local detail and a cast bursting at the seams with talent. It truly is a celebration of Glasgow at its best and for all its cleverness it manages to retain a genuine warmth and charm.

The cast of six show astonishing versatility, seamlessly switching between multiple characters: a Liverpudlian ghost; Wee Jimmy Krankie; Tiny, or rather Whiny Tim; 80s disco diva Frizziwig; a Sally Bowles-like Ghost of Panto Future and Cockney Bobby (S) Cratchitt, to name just a few. McKnight himself stars as the title character and his pitch perfect delivery never falters throughout: firing out line after line of dialogue that will have you laughing out loud and tears rolling from your cheeks from the first scene to the last.

The writing is sublime but credit must also go to the music from composer Ross Brown which ranges from Les Mis-like musical theatre, Disney-esque show stopper to slinky cabaret and to the simple but highly effective set and costume designs of Kenny Miller.

This is executed with such energy and originality that even the most panto-phobic among you won’t fail to be won over. Beg, borrow or steal a ticket if you can.

Runs until 5 January